Designed in the late 1990s by Croatian firearms wonk Marko Vukovic as the HS2000, Springfield Armory brought the gun to the US as the XD in 2001. Built after such bar-setters as the HK VP70 and the Glock 17, the pistol benefited from these preceding guns and built upon them. Since then, the XD design has matured constantly and now stands as the XDM.
Ergonomics and Recoil
The XD series of pistols have, since their inception, used a near-vertical 103-degree angle, similar to the classic Colt 1911 longslide. This feature carried over to the XDM. The frame has been molded with thumb cutouts that lead naturally to the trigger guard and the ambi magazine release. Slip resistant slide serrations that are angled and on both the front and rear of the slide give the XDM top end a nice modern look while adding to the overall functionality. There are other neat little bonuses such as a loaded chamber indicator and striker status indicator that can be both seen and felt, which is good in low-light, pucker-factor-rich situations where a press check is impractical. Interchangeable backstraps and Mag X-Tensions provide a level of flexibility in your grip choice.
Recoil is manageable in the 9mm and in the .40 versions has a little muzzle flip which can be expected in a polymer-framed pistol.
Trigger and Accuracy
The trigger of the XDM is nice. Like the Glock, it has a safety trigger with an inset fore-lever that must be depressed before the trigger lever itself will fire a chambered round. Gratefully, it has shorter travel than the Glock and a very short reset for rapid follow-up shots. This is helpful as in many cases the second shot can be even more important that the first.
Rounds on paper are no problem with this pistol due to a precision manufactured match-grade barrel that comes standard. Speaking of barrels, the XDM uses old school Enfield rifling, not the newer and more hip polygonal type. As a crash course in what this means, many prefer the polygonal for longer barrel life, while others the traditional Enfield for the capability to fire unjacketed lead bullets. It’s an apples to oranges type of thing– both are still fruit. Moreover, if you follow this analogy, the XDM has several different sized oranges with 3.8-inch, 4.5-inch, and 5.25-inch barrel lengths offered in all three calibers (9/40/45) to choose from.
Reloading and Disassembly
Unlike the Glock which makes you pull the trigger to disassemble, the XDM breaks down with a dedicated take-down lever like the Beretta 92 and SIG P-series pistols (with the exception that it points up instead of down), which is nice in a polymer framed handgun. It’s hands down safer if you don’t have to actuate that trigger to disassemble. In addition, compared to other guns in its class like the Phantom and P30, which have a slide stop to remove, the take down of the XDM is easier.
The XDM also has the largest in class magazine capacity, holding 19-rounds of 9mm or 16-rounds of .40 in a flush-fitting steel (not plastic) mag. The magazine release is placed a little lower on the grip on the XDM when compared to the previous Springfield models, which allows better actuation.
Reliability and Durability
There have been several torture tests documented with XD/XDM platforms running well over 20,000 rounds without major issue. In our testing at TGR, we found no systematic issues to complain about. The gun is covered with Melonite, a salt nitriding process that has a similar look and feel of Glock’s Tenifer finish. Springfield offers a limited lifetime warranty on their guns, which is refreshing. The only thing that scares us on the XD is that the primary factory is in Croatia and Springfield doesn’t offer armorer classes like SIG, Glock, and other makers do, which means the odds of having your XDM repaired locally are slim. For this, we dinged the gun a couple points just out of wariness over long-term (think twenty years from now) durability.
The XD was long imported as a rival to the Glock and there is no shortage of Glock vs. XD scraps that have taken place in the vaunted halls of internet message boards. They don’t have the same following in competition circles that CZ does, neither do they have the same mass appeal that the Glock has garnered in law enforcement circles due to brilliant marketing. What they do have is a very nice, affordable and feature packed polymer-framed pistol that holds a lot of bullets and does everything asked of it. While the Phantom tied the XDM with the same number of points in our review, the fact that the CZ is slightly less expensive and has a larger supply of knowledgeable local gunsmiths and parts behind it, narrowly put it ahead of Springfield’s polymer gun.
If only Springfield had a factory that was not ten times zones away…